Trump: It Looks Like Iran Was Behind Saudi Attack; Investigations Continue; ‘I Don’t Want War’

By Patrick Goodenough | September 16, 2019 | 7:50pm EDT
President Trump speaks in the Oval Office alongside Bahrain’s crown prince. (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

( – President Trump said Monday investigations were underway to determine who attacked Saudi oil infrastructure at the weekend, but asked whether Iran was responsible he said, “it’s certainly looking that way at this moment.”

Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Bahrain’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Trump also said there were “ways to see definitively where they [the drones] came from, and we have all of those ways, and that’s being checked out right now.”

Later he added, “we’ll be able to find that out, figure that out very quickly. We pretty much already know” who was responsible.

“I think you won’t be surprised to see who did it.”

The Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen have claimed responsibility for the damaging attacks, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the weekend blamed the Iranian regime – which has denied involvement.

Trump tweeted Sunday that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” but also awaiting word from the Saudis as to whom they hold responsible.

The Foreign Ministry in Riyadh said Monday, “Initial investigations have indicated that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian weapons. Investigations are still ongoing to determine the source of the attack.”

“The Kingdom condemns this egregious crime, which threatens international peace and security, and affirms that the primary target of this attack is global energy supplies, as this attack is in line with the previous attacks against Saudi Aramco pumping stations using Iranian weapons,” it said.

The ministry added that international experts were invited to visit and take part in the investigations. The kingdom would “take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.”

Asked in the Oval Office whether he wants to go to war against Iran, Trump said he does not “want war with anybody.”

“I’m somebody that would like not to have war,” he said. “No, I don’t want war with anybody but we’re prepared more than anybody.”

Trump said the U.S. has the best fighter jets, missiles, and military equipment, “but with all of that being said, we’d certainly like to avoid it.”

Later, he added, “I’m not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to.”

“That was a very large attack, and it could be met with an attack many, many times larger, very easily by our country. But we’re going to find out who definitively did it.”

‘There’s no rush’

Trump said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others would be traveling to Saudi Arabia, as the administration engages with the Saudis, Bahrainis, Emiratis and others in the region.

It was also talking to the Europeans, including France and Germany. “We’re talking to a lot of different folks and figuring out what they think.”

Asked whether he believes the Saudis should be responsible for defending themselves, the president said it was their responsibility to do “a big deal of their defense.”

He also indicated that Saudi Arabia would pay, should any response come.

“The fact is that the Saudis are going to have a lot of involvement in this, if we decide to do something. They’ll be very much involved and that includes payment,” he said. “And they understand that fully.”

In response to a question, Trump said he hasn’t “promised” the Saudis that the U.S. will protect them, “but we would certainly help them. They’ve been a great ally.”

He said the Saudis were “very angry” about the attacks.

“They know pretty much where they came from, and we’re looking for the final checkpoints, and I think you won’t be surprised to see who did it.”

Asked whether he had a message for Iran, he said, “I think I’ll have a stronger message – or maybe no message at all – when we get the final results of what we’re looking at. But right now it’s too soon to say. There’s plenty of time, you know. There’s no rush.”

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